Lady Trojans compete in tournament
First-year Parkland girls basketball coach Ed Ohlson is a familiar name to Lehigh Valley basketball fans, and Parkland fans in general. His son Eddie played for the Trojans in the early 2000s and is now an assistant coach on the boys team.
Ed, who was part of Rich Fatzinger’s boys staff at Parkland, was also a longtime area boys coach for several different schools before making the switch to the girls side.
Last weekend Parkland competed in the A-Town Throwdown Divaz Challenge, which was separate and played a week after the boys tournament for the first time.
The Trojans went 3-0 in group play before falling to Northwestern in the quarterfinals last Sunday at Allen High School. The games were moved indoors due to rain.
After a successful tournament run and one more major event under his belt as new coach, Ohlson sees a lot of positives from not only his new team but new transition.
“Honestly it’s been seamless,” said Ohlson. “I never had any above the rim plays so there’s no adjustment there. The girls are as competitive and are as intense as the boys, so from that standpoint I haven’t had to adjust how I coach. If there’s been one adjustment for me it’s in how the girls adapt much quicker than the boys as far as in-game changes. That’s been a pleasant surprise.”
With the girls tournament normally running on adjacent courts to the boys down at Cedar Beach every year, the change in date and venue gave girls basketball their own stage. And Ohlson feels he speaks for everyone involved in the girls game by saying it was a success.
“I thought Percy Ruhe Park was a great place to play and the pool-play format was also very good,” Ohlson said. “I like that we get to play both double-elimination and pool-play during the summer. It gives both tournaments their own distinct style.”
The pool-play format certainly was kind to Parkland, which won all three of its games in one day. On Saturday, the Trojans defeated Catasauqua, Warren Hills and held on to defeat defending District 11 Class 6A champion Freedom 23-22 to advance to Sunday’s single-elimination playoff.
Parkland fell to Northwestern Sunday morning in the quarterfinals, but still has plenty of positives to take away from the weekend.
“I know this is an over-used phrase but we are in a process right now,” said Ohlson. “I’ve been on the job a little under two months and in that time, although we’ve played a bunch of games, we have about three hours in the gym together. Our defense has been getting better every week and our offense is a work in progress. Right now we are seeing what people’s roles are and how we each fit together.
“That part I’m ecstatic about because the girls have been very receptive to our coaching and direction. We talk about playing hard, playing smart and playing together. All the girls have been committed to playing very hard and they play extremely well together. The playing smart is there but it can and will be enhanced with time in the gym together.”
Now Parkland will have plenty of time to work together and under Ohlson and his staff to prepare for another postseason run this winter.